Time to vote for outstanding west coast musicians
SCOTTISH experts and business owners gathered in Oban to debate the question: ‘Has Scotland got what it takes to be a global food tourism destination?’
The culmination or more than a year of detailed planning - it was an event not to be missed, and even the journey to the event packed in a learning experience.
Flavour tours were arranged for the day before the main conference to bring delegates to Oban via food tourism businesses.
One tour travelled from Glasgow via the Glengoyne Distillery, Fyne Ales, Loch Fyne Oysters, Inveraray Castle and Corrie Cook School.
Another tour was themed on food and drink on the move and travelled from Stirling via the Woodhouse Café near Kippen, Mhor 84 on the A84, The Real Food Café and then by train from Tyndrum to Oban.
Food at the event in the Argyllshire Gathering Halls was provided by Cal Mac Food from Argyll and the team from Loch Melfort Hotel.
Produce was sourced and supplied by producers, mainly from Argyll, who provided invaluable support for the event. Several of the producers attended the event and were able to get first hand feedback from the very enthusiastic delegates.
The feedback from the conference has been overwhelmingly positive and conversation during the Wednesday night dinner were filled with ideas and plans.
Highlights of the day included presentations from two Argyll primary schools, Isle of Ulva and Strone, on food projects they have been working on.
The Ulva pupils brought a Food Map of Mull and Iona with them which was much admired. Strone pupils made, packaged and sold home baking to delegates at the breaks. Everyone acknowledged that getting the younger generation motivated to work in Food Tourism was crucial to its development.
Rebecca Mackenzie from the Ontario Culinary Alliance provided a wealth of ideas and inspiration while encouraging everyone with her enthusiasm for what is currently on offer in Scotland.
Donald Reid from The List and Cate Devine from The Herald pro- vided insights into the role of food journalism in an open debate that provided good advice.
Tom Lewis, from restaurant and rooms Monachyle Mhor, entertained everyone at the dinner telling the story of how his family businesses had built up over the years and the blood, sweat and tears it took to achieve what they had now.
Stuart Hendry of Glengoyne, who treated delegates to a personal blending experience on the flavour tour ,encouraged everyone at the dinner to enjoy two drams, one suited to the cheese course and the other to the petit fours.
With this inaugural event bringing two food and drink and tourism sectors into the same room, key phrases emerged to capture the essence of the debate including:
Co-optition – combining competition and co-operation between businesses to achieve a common goal.
Those who work alone can travel fast, but those who work together can travel far.
Anyone with a customer facing business in Scotland is in the tourism sector – tourism is everyone’s business.
A gala dinner held in the Argyllshire Gathering Halls used fresh local produce that wowed more than 150 people. The chef, Michael Knowles, took on a task
many thought beyond the most accomplished cook and excelled.